Dr. Maria Asteriadou
Heralded as "an artist with intense personality, virtuosic flair, unusual poise and intimate contact with style" by The New York Times, Greek pianist Maria Asteriadou is an acclaimed soloist, chamber musician and pedagogue.
Ms. Asteriadou's performances have taken her throughout the world appearing in recitals and as soloist with orchestras playing in major concert halls in the United States, South America, Canada and Europe. She has performed with the Moscow Radio Symphony, Academy of Saint Martin in the Fields, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, the National Symphony of Costa Rica, the Stuttgart Kamerata, Luxembourg Philharmonia, the Bucharest Chamber Orchestra, Iasi Philharmonic Romania, the Adrian (Michigan) Symphony Orchestra, the Canadian Chamber Academy, Athens State Orchestra and the Thessaloniki State and City orchestras.
A devoted chamber musician, Ms. Asteriadou has collaborated with members of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra and performs regularly in festivals and summer music festivals. Together with her husband, violinist Kurt Nikkanen, she appears in recitals worldwide presenting programs showcasing composers from Bach to Piazzolla.
Her love for her native Greece and her enthusiasm for contemporary music have resulted in prestigious premieres by many of Greece's most prominent composers including Dimitri Mitropoulos, Nikos Skalkottas, Christos Samaras, Yiorgos Sicillianos as well as numerous collaborations with the American-born Greek composer George Tsontakis. In addition, she has collaborated with the American composer David Noon, recently premiering his Concerto for Piano and Percussion.
For the BIS label, Ms. Asteriadou has recorded the complete piano and string chamber works of Nikos Skalkottas as well as his Concertino for Two Pianos, and the complete violin and piano works of Carl Nielsen. She has also recorded works by Greek composers Yiorgos Sicilianos, Emilios Riadis, Dimitri Mitropoulos and the American composer Ron Wasserman.
Maria Asteriadou is the recipient of numerous awards and prizes including first prize in performance from the State Conservatory of Greece, and top prize in the Maria Callas International Piano Competition. She also holds the distinction of being the only pianist selected from the Musik Hochschule in Freiburg to perform in honor of Maestro Pierre Boulez.
Following in the footsteps of her teacher, the esteemed Constance Keene, Ms. Asteriadou is also an energetic, dedicated and passionate pedagogue. She teaches at Manhattan School of Music and at Kutztown University in Pennsylvania, where she is a member of the piano and chamber music faculties, serves as director of the Chamber Music Outreach Program and is artistic director of the Kutztown University Summer Chamber Music Festival. In addition, Ms. Asteriadou has been an artist faculty member at many festivals including the University of Michigan's Summer Arts Institute, Canada's International School of Musical Arts, and the West Branch International Music Festival in New York. She has also given master classes at the Conservatorio Nacional de Musica in the Dominican Republic, and in her native country has appeared at the Music Village Workshops as well as the Saint George Festival, among others. She also serves on the board of the Children's Foundation for the Arts.
Maria Asteriadou holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Manhattan School of Music where she was a student of Constance Keene. She received her Master of Music degree from the Juilliard School as a student of Jacob Lateiner. Following her undergraduate studies at the State Conservatory of Music in Thessaloniki, Greece, Ms. Asteriadou was accepted at the Musik Hochschule in Freiburg, Germany where she studied with Tibor Hazay and received her Graduate Soloist Diploma with honors. She has also worked with Domna Evnouchidou, Vitalij Margulis, Gyorgy Sebok and Richard Goode.
Maria Asteriadou resides in New York with her husband, daughter and son.
"Chance is a star at a Debut"
"Intense personality and the muscle to back it up. To these she adds the split personality necessary to successful performance: the ability to be involved and at the same time to remain cool. Something else different about Ms. Asteriadou is that she seems to enjoy the music even more than playing the piano - something not always encountered in today's young virtuosos."
New York Times, Bernard Holland
"Maria Asteriadou showed unusual poise, confident technique and an intimate contact with style usually reserved for mature professionals and very few of them"
New York Times, Bernard Holland
"Glänzende Visitenkarte einr jungen Pianistin" (Sparkling visiting card of a young pianist)
"A highly successful recital. This young Greek virtuosa enchanted the public so much that they would not let her leave the hall until she rewarded them with two encores."
Schwäbische Zeitung, Germany
"Her tone was resplendent and packed with gusto. The versatile pianist made a strong impression with the beauty of her sound."
"The deft touch, technical ease are part of the superior skills possessed by Maria Asteriadou."
Vradini Journal, Greece
"Her performance left the audience breathless. Her mastery of the instrument is colored by richness of sound with underlying variety of expression and personality."
Thessaloniki Post, Greece
"The most complete work for piano and orchestra by Rachmaninoff's Rhapsody on a theme by Paganini, finds in the hands of Maria Asteriadou the most expressive interpretation. The virtuosity of the soloist, continuously present, gave the work luster, weight and occasionally a few strokes of cruelty, when the presentation of the Fdies Irae theme demanded it."
Kathimerini Journal, Greece
"The clear brightness of sound, the suggestively multidimensional transparency of the transposition of the musical reflection in the Schnittke concerto, characterized by a musical, dramatical suspense, made Maria Asteriadou the star of the evening and brought out of her an excellent maturity. Her total commitment to music electrified Kamerata conducted by Alexandros Myrat."
Express Journal, Greece
"Rachmaninoff's Rhapsody on a theme of Paganini is a showpiece for piano and orchestra both, requiring not only immense talent, but also a certain level of fearlessness. Maria Asteriadou most certainly displayed both, and her interpretation of the work was first-class. The virtuoso passages were breathtakingly played, while the more lyrical passages came with great sensitivity. Asteriadou very effectively took in all the varying emotions of the Rhapsody and conveyed them to the audience."
Daily Telegram, Adrian, Michigan
"Asteriadou's and Nikkanen's performance of the work (Mendelssohn Concerto for Violin and Piano in D Minor) was breathtaking both for its virtuosity and for the amazing level of communication they had with each other... And the brilliance of the results earned the pair one of the most wildly enthusiastic receptions to ever come from an ASO audience."
Daily Telegram, Adrian, Michigan
Recording Reviews (samples)
"Demertzis and Asteriadou match the confidence of the music with performances of real beauty, conviction and flair."
BBC Music Magazine, Martin Cotton
"Georgios Demertzis and Maria Asteriadou give all its rage, sadness and paranoia. A duo like Argerich and Kremer might have given us heightened psychic density and hits human drama. The Greek duo give us a version that is austere, incisive and mysterious: possibly the best introduction to music that strikes us a real revelation."
Repertoire Magazine, Andre Guy
"Intense personality and the muscle to back it up. Something else different about Ms. Asteriadou is that she seems to enjoy the music even more than playing the piano-something not always encountered in today's young virtuosos."
New York Times